IWW members in the 1916 rising in Ireland

46 posts / 0 new
Last post
AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 23 2007 13:32
IWW members in the 1916 rising in Ireland

Last year the WSM published a number of articles on the 1916 rising in Dublin. In the course of researching these and also conversation afterwards we discovered something intersting, in addition to James Connolly it seems 3 other IWW members who had travelled to Ireland for the rising were killed in the course of it. This is quite odd because its about 5% of the rebel casualties.

One was a 'Cockney socialist' called Neale another was a Greek sailor who apparently jumped ship in Liverpool to join the rebellion and was killed in the final charge on Moore street. The third was thought to be Jewish and so was not buried in the republican plot in Glasnevin but secretly in the Jewish cemerty . There is a story of a family who opening the family plot in the Jewish graveyard in the 1930's only to discover a body wearing a Citizen Army belt and an IWW button already in the grave. It's possible the Dublin Jewish museum may have more details on this.

The deaths of 3 foreign IWW members in the rising is very interesting as it suggests there may be more who participated but were not killed and presumably left the country in the aftermath of the rising. Even the 3 on their own suggests that there may have been some sort of suggestion that members should head to Dublin. If anyone has access to IWW archives it would be very interesting to check around April 1916 to see what might be there - even the coverage in whatever IWW publications existed at that point would give us some clues

Some reading for those who don't know the background

1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle
http://www.wsm.ie/story/707

Connolly, blood sacrifice and defeating British imperialism
http://www.wsm.ie/story/758

Nationalism, socialism and partition
http://www.wsm.ie/story/2363

ftony
Offline
Joined: 26-05-04
May 23 2007 13:49

well i never. that was kept pretty quiet - the IWW are usually pretty vocal about their members wot got done over back in the day

Deezer
Offline
Joined: 2-10-04
May 23 2007 20:59

Why would the IWW wanna celebrate 3 eejits who got themselves killed in a nationalist rising???

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
May 23 2007 21:38

Exactly.

Whilst on the 1916 Easter Rising I'd like to recomend an article which appeared in the ICC's 'World Revolution' paper a while back entitled 'Sean O'Casey and the 1916 Easter Rising'.

I'm normally a critic of the ICC and not their favourite person as some may have notice from other threads, but this article was unusually well written and one of that organisation few recent tracts I thought worthy of reproduction.

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 23 2007 22:19

I was going to read that ICC article just to prove to myself that I already knew what its going to say.

Not only did i I know what it was going to say but oh my golly what an absolutely fucking awful article. It just wrong about loads of stuff.

A few examples:

Quote:
This year the Irish Republic is celebrating 90 years since the 1916 Easter Rising. With the passage of time, the way this event is marked has changed. Nowadays it is presented as the indispensable precondition for the pride and joy of today’s Irish bourgeoisie: the so-called Celtic Tiger.

Simply not true. In Ireland today probably most of the Irish bourgeoisie takes absolutely no pride in 1916. One of the reasons it so popular amongst the working class is because despite its nationalism it is viewed (wrongly in my opinion) as a working class rising against the 'west brits' (meaning the irish bourgeoisie), and one of the reasons it so disliked by the Irish bourgeoisie is because they view Irish republicanism in the south as 'plebs with guns'.

Quote:
The Irish Citizens Army was a militia set up during the six month 1913 Dublin lockout to protect workers from the savagery of state repression against transport workers’ militancy. The ‘Plough and the Stars’ was the banner of the ICA. It was one of the workers’ movement’s most poetic flags. The plough represents the turning over of the soil of capitalist society by the class struggle, the patient work of planting the seeds of the future, but also the imperious need to harvest their fruits when they are ripe. As for the stars, they stand for the beauty and the loftiness of the goals and ideals of the workers’ movement.

Nope, the Starry Plough comes from a reference to the book of isiah

"He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Quote:
In reality, O’Casey’s flowering was possible because of the ideas which inspired him at the time – those brought forward by the upsurge of workers’ struggles on the eve of the First World War, and their confirmation through the proletarian revolt against the war, above all the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia.

Brilliant its like a parody of materialism. So O'Casey's literary talents are due to ... errr ..... 'above all the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia'. You couldn't make this up.

Quote:
The intensity of his original nationalism, the changing of his name (he was born John Casey) were probably motivated by feelings of guilt or inferiority.

Oh of course. I suppose Dubhghlas de hÍde founding Conradh na Gaeilge was also motivated by feelings of guilt or inferiority. For fuck sake roll eyes

Quote:
It overpowered Connolly himself. We know from his private correspondence that Connolly was an atheist, although towards the outside he would sometimes denied this in order not to alienate the more religious layers of workers.

Connolly once in a letter in 1908 famously wrote "though I have usually posed as a Catholic, I have not done my duty for 15 years, and have not the slightest tincture of faith left…" However later in 1910 he wrote 'Labour, Nationality and Religion'. A pamphlet arguing that socialism wasn't atheist and arguing for socialism on the basis of Connolly's Catholic faith. He draws heavily on the writings of Saint Ambrose, a bishop in rome in the 4th century and one of the 'four doctors of the church'. (i.e. one of the four founders of the roman catholic church). If you read the pamphlet its hard to bleieve that he was not a christian when he wrote it.

Christ I fucking hate left communists.

If you want a good anti-nationalist account of 1916 I recommend reading Andrew's article 1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle linked to above. Or read any of his articles linked to above.

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 23 2007 22:57
Quote:
Quote:
Simply not true. In Ireland today probably most of the Irish bourgeoisie takes absolutely no pride in 1916. One of the reasons it so popular amongst the working class is because despite its nationalism it is viewed (wrongly in my opinion) as a working class rising against the 'west brits' (meaning the irish bourgeoisie), and one of the reasons it so disliked by the Irish bourgeoisie is because they view Irish republicanism in the south as 'plebs with guns'.

now come on, didn't we see the state have it's commerations this year?

Yeah they did and they were tiny. They had to have commemorations because Fianna Fail claims its legacy from them.

Quote:
Republicanism post '69 might be something of an embarrasment to sections of the Irish bourgeois but the uprising of 1916 and the war of independence is certainly not brushed under the carpet, rather it's always been a matter of the the 'good old IRA' and the bad 'Provo's'.

Nope its widely viewed by the bourgeosie in the south as a something that should wither be condemned or brushed under the carpet. In the 60s and 70s this might not have been the case but it is now. Read the Sunday Business Post, Magill, anything by Independent News and Media and you get significantly more anti-'good old IRA' stuff.

Quote:
The popularity of republicanism with sections of the working class in the south is rather similar to working class prods and loyalism in the north, whereby they are more loyal to the nation than the state is and both can be a right pain in the arse to a progressive bourgeois.

Oh. What an inciteful thing to say. I think I'll go and ponder over this now.

Quote:
The rest of your criticisms are pretty superflous to the thrust of the discussion.

What discussion there hasn't been any discussion on the thread. My point was that it was a shit article that was riddled with inaccuracies, and riven with the disdain for facts that charachterises left communism.

I was planning on finiching it off with stuff on how Sean O-Casey was far from an anti-nationalist, which is true, but I couldn't find anything online aobut it.

Deezer
Offline
Joined: 2-10-04
May 23 2007 23:18

Have to agree with geirge on a lot of this. Most of the historical inaccuracies he flags up are inaccurate. I think I can remember saying something about the biblical origin of the star and the plough before, a long time ago in an other thread. I'm think he's over egging the lack of a role by the Irish government in trying to lay claim to 1916 though. Or perhaps confusing the governments attempts to claim legitimacy in relation to the Rising with other sections of Irish bourgeois thought that is more vociferously antagonistic/embarassed by that legacy.

The relationship, given the civil war and the civil war politics that shaped the souths politics for so long, was always problematic. The re-emergence of physical force republicanism in the north certainly complicated things more for the southern Irish bourgeois. There was direct competition from folk not content with seeing it as the birth of the nation but who viewed it as the birth of a still unfinished 'revolution'. But it is still contested, whether or not the state can actually mobilise support for its comemorations or not, and small commemorations aren't confined to the Irish state but also apply, increasingly, to various republican factions who also claim their legacy from the Rising.

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 23 2007 23:44
Quote:
I'm not too sure he isn't over egging the role of the Irish government in trying to lay claim to 1916 though.

To many negatives for this late at night. I don't understand.

Just to say I'm not bothered about whether or not the state commemorates 1916 or claims legitimacy from it. Just saying that I know that when I was a republican, my republicanism was tied into the fact that the irish bourgeosie from D4, foxrock, ballsbridge, killiney etc. private schools, trinity, fine gael, IBEC etc. etc. hate republicanism and I know that for most republicans its similar. I mean the same could be said about people joining the BNP presumably. I'm not saying republicanism is deadly. I'm just saying that the ICC saying that 1916 is 'the indispensable precondition for the pride and joy of today’s Irish bourgeoisie' is almost as stupid as saying that a belief in white power is the indispensable precondition for the pride and joy of today’s British bourgeoisie. I'm sure Noel Ignatiev or some of the more intelligent people around Race Traitor would be able to make a sensible argument for the latter. But regardless both are stupid things to say that simply aren't true and show a completely ideological/idealist understanding of society.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 24 2007 10:11

I read that ICC article at the time and it struck me as what someone who knew little apart from what conclusion they were going to reach might cobble together from general guess work and a very limited reading (the sort where you scan a text simply looking for bits to confirm the conclusion you already hold). All bits of the left are prone to this but that article is a particularly bad example.

I'm actually a fan of O'Casey and it is very clueless in relation to him in particular to imagining his socialism came about from 1917 or that the Russian revolution made his writing better. In fact he had been a socialist (as well as a nationalist) for a good decade before this, was secretary of the Irish Citizen Army for a period from 1913 and started to break with a particular variety of nationalism that was coming to dominate the movement in 1914. But above all else the Russian revolution had a rather negative effect on his writing, his 'good' stuff tended to be based directly on his experiences of the period before when he had a real involvement in struggle. The stuff he wrote as an increasingly Leninist hack later on is more and more turgid. If you read his autobiographies the first three books are great dealing with the conditions and struggles of the Dublin working class in general and the protestant section in particlar (they go up to around 1918 I think) the last three are turgid and full of accounts of his rows with various loveys in the arts scene.

Finally I'm really not a fan of the 'lets not look into the difficult bits of history where libertarians may not have had the right line' school of anarchism. While I'm not convinced it was useful for the left to participate in the insurrection on the grounds it did I think understanding why this happened is far more important that trotting out a preprepared slogan condemning it. And their was an interesting 'internationalist' angle to the rising which is very unexplored. I'm very curious as to what if any organisation was behind the IWW involvement. It seems unlikely that a Greek, a Cockney and a (Britiish?) Jew can simply be written off as Irish nationalists especially as all seemed to have arrived from abroad for the rising with as yet known Irish connection beyond this. It is possible this is simply because all knew Connolly from his period as an IWW organiser and its possible they were the only other IWW members involved and just random chance meant they had 100% casualties as against the 5% suffered by the rest of the rebels.

Anyway I've posted around three threads in the Ireland forum when our articles were published which received no serious response so maybe we could move the general discussion of the rising there and reserve this one for digging out information or even speculation about this IWW involvement.

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 24 2007 12:21

Yes, this thread's certainly moved on from it's original topic (did you hear the one about the Cockney, the Greek and the Jew?). Good luck with your further research into this subject. Hope the punchline's good.

But before I leave you to it, some comments on the discussion that's actually unfolded.

First of all, quite a bit of it has been on an article called Sean O'Casey and the 1916 Easter Rising, originally published in World Revolution, paper in GB of the International Communist Current. People can form their own opinions of it via the link below:

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/292_1916_rising.html

Secondly, the discussion has provoked some comments about 'Left Communism' in general (the ICC defining itself as part of that political current).

Georgestapleton writes:

Quote:
"Christ I fucking hate left communists.

Later he writes:

Quote:
My point was that it was a shit article that was riddled with inaccuracies, and riven with the disdain for facts that charachterises left communism.

I was planning on finiching it off with stuff on how Sean O-Casey was far from an anti-nationalist, which is true, but I couldn't find anything online aobut it.

We'll the fact that gs hates a significant trend of the workers movement - a trend that has always had internationalism as its foundation stone - and the fact that he's a member of an organisation whose attitude to nationalism and national liberation has often been questioned on this site - speaks volumes. Perhaps gs's hatred of 'Left Communists' is a class-based antagnism? Perhaps his organisation hasn't completed its journey away from the bourgeois politics of Republicanism. I pose these as questions, you understand.

And some more. Just why is GS so keen to show that Sean O'Casey "was far from anti-nationalist" anyway? Why didn't he find anything on-line to back up his assertion? Why was an O'Casey play met with riots, a film version publically burned in Limerick, as the article says, or are these 'innacuracies'? I think we should be told.

O'Casey's roots were in nationalism: of that there's no argument. What interests the article is his journey away from that perspective, the events that influenced him and the works he produced as a result.

GS positively fulminates at the idea, expressed in the article, the the Russian Rebolution could have had any influence on O'Casey's work. GS quotes the article saying:

Quote:
In reality, O’Casey’s flowering was possible because of the ideas which inspired him at the time – those brought forward by the upsurge of workers’ struggles on the eve of the First World War, and their confirmation through the proletarian revolt against the war, above all the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia.

And he comments:

Quote:
Brilliant its like a parody of materialism. So O'Casey's literary talents are due to ... errr ..... 'above all the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia'. You couldn't make this up.

What is so strange in the concept that major world events change people's ideas? What is so 'anti-materialist' about the notion that the Russian Revolution of 1917 inspired millions of workers around the world and touched other strata, influenced wrtiters, poets, painters, artists, architects? Wasn't it the event that turned a socialist-minded journalist John Reed from a writer to a bolshevik? Wasn't it the movement that turned Sylvia Pankhurst from pacifist to ardent communist.? If a massive movement of the proletariat has no affect at all on the consciousness and direction of individuals and society as a whole, then exactly what does GS think he's fighting for?

Regarding the article itself, he wrote:

Quote:
I was going to read that ICC article just to prove to myself that I already knew what its going to say.

Not only did i I know what it was going to say but oh my golly what an absolutely fucking awful article. It just wrong about loads of stuff.

So he approached it with an open mind then! And JoeBlack2 has the nerve to write:

Quote:
I read that ICC article at the time and it struck me as what someone who knew little apart from what conclusion they were going to reach might cobble together from general guess work and a very limited reading (the sort where you scan a text simply looking for bits to confirm the conclusion you already hold).

I actually think this is a very good description of georgestapleton's approach, but there you go. Read the article for yourselves. Like Revol 68 and Spikeymike (no fans of the ICC) I thought it had a great deal going for it on many levels - certainly not the work of someone 'skimming'. And even if I disagreed with it, I think I would hesitate before writing off the entire communist left as a result.

Hey ho: back to gravedigging.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 24 2007 13:01
Lurch wrote:
Ycertainly not the work of someone 'skimming'.

Seeing as you posted a link I went back and reread it - in some ways its worse than I remembered. In particular its 'history' is heavily drawn from O'Caseys autobiography which although a good read is heavily fictionalised - in particular in relation to his and his families early republicanism (they actually appear to have been loyalists). I also like the Plough and the Stars but I wouldn't make the mistake of using it as an actual history of the rising and the autobiographies are useful for getting an understanding of the period but are in no way histories! Apart from a mention of Nevin's book there isn't even a suggestion of using historical rather than biographical sources and from what he says of Nevin I suspect he read a review rather than the book. Which means parts of it are quite weird, for instance the suggestion that O'Casey as a protestant worker would have been unusual (in fact most Dublin protestants at the time were workers).

The autor also makes the hugely serious mistake of assuming the attitude of the bourgeoise towards the rising was the same in the present day as it was in 1926. As Boul has already pointed out actually in the 70's, 80's and 90's the bourgeoise were not really in a position where worshiping a minority insurrection by an underground army would have been very smart as they were busy trying to suppress one that claimed to be the 'real' inheritors of the rising.

Best of all though is this bit

Quote:
The insurrection was carried through by a small minority against all the odds, in order to oblige the British authorities to execute its leaders. It was a modern version of the myth of crucifixion and resurrection, which is why it had to take place at Easter

This confuses consequences with causes and mythology with facts - its reading history backwards. It's like someone took the nationalist mythology and put a minus where ever they put a plus (almost certainly what I suspect the author did). Its notable that the people who like it are those who would most agree with its conclusions and probably didn't bother with the factual content as a result - a lazy and at the end of the day counter productive approahh. If this article was meant to reassure those who already agree with you I'd give it 100% - if it was meant to influence those who don't and who have at least some knowledge of the history I'd give it 20% - and thats a generous figure based on the poor historical knowledge of a lot of the nationalists.

Incidentally the article at http://www.wsm.ie/story/758 examines the blood sacrifice concept in some detail

EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
Offline
Joined: 25-03-06
May 24 2007 13:34

Where did the IWW celebrate these guys? Also I thinkk you are underestimating the number of people that were revolutionaries and to a particular degree adventure seekers at that time. Remember before we had easy rider we had John Reed riding with Pancho Villa. A lot of wobs fought all over the world in all sorts of wars and insurrections, including some that voluntarily signed up for WWI. Not everything everyone from a mass radical movement does is out of politics.

Deezer
Offline
Joined: 2-10-04
May 24 2007 19:26

Sorry for the confusion EdmontonWobbly I asked why would the IWW celebrate them, didn't mean to imply they did, I meant I thought it was a good thing they didn't

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
May 24 2007 20:09

Joe,

Thanks for the useful counterbalance to the ICC article in your last post, which I will review more critically. I'm sure your right about the current Eire establishments attitude to the 'Rising', but not so sure about some of the other points you make.

There is always a risk of projecting back current understandings when viewing, with hindsight, past events, but the tensions described in the article seem real enough and the caution against mixing nationalism with pro revolutionary politics as valid then as now.

Turn of the 19h Century radical and pro revolutionary politics mixed democratic republican and pro revolutionary politics a good deal and even by 1916 much of the same language was still used, even if some of the content was being challenged. Red Republican slogans were common it seems but weve moved on now presumably?

thugarchist's picture
thugarchist
Offline
Joined: 26-11-06
May 24 2007 20:12
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Sorry for the confusion EdmontonWobbly I asked why would the IWW celebrate them, didn't mean to imply they did, I meant I thought it was a good thing they didn't

How is celebrating them worse than celebrating every nlrb ruling that says starbucks is mean or the pizza shop owes 35 cents?

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 24 2007 21:33

Thank you JoeBlack2 for your response and for the link to the article on the blood sacrifice concept which I'll read in due course.

My first post here wasn't just an appreciation of a particular article but rather a questioning of the relative hysteria its mention (not by me) provoked: a response which straight away wanted to denounce Left Communists. People can read for themselves.

Regarding some points you made:

I agree that we should not 'read back' into history, an a-historical method to be sure. But you haven't provided a counter-interpretation of O'Casey's works that would allow me or anyone else to seriously dispute what the article says.

Do we, as the article claims, find in O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy a trenchant critique, "a blistering denunciation of the Easter Rising"; Does The Plough and the Stars "recall the historic truth that not only O’Casey, but the working class in Ireland refused to participate in or support the [1916 Easter] rising"? If we do, what's your problem with that? And if we don't, please demonstrate it.

JoeBlack2 writes:

Quote:
The autor also makes the hugely serious mistake of assuming the attitude of the bourgeoise towards the rising was the same in the present day as it was in 1926.

On this subject the article actually says:

Quote:
"..the themes of this ritual commemoration change with the years"

You inform us that O'Casey actually came from a 'Loyalist' background.

The ICC article says:

Quote:
"But O’Casey came from a Protestant background."

GeorgeStapleton says of Connoly's work Labour, Nationality and Religion:

Quote:
"If you read the pamphlet its hard to bleieve that he was not a christian when he wrote it."

The ICC article says:

Quote:
"But all the evidence indicates that he (Connolly) died as a devout Catholic.

Why are you putting up things that you and the article apparently agree on as criticisms of the article. Who's skimming what here?

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 24 2007 21:57
Lurch wrote:

You inform us that O'Casey actually came from a 'Loyalist' background.

The ICC article says:

Quote:
"But O’Casey came from a Protestant background."

Oh cool - an 'internationalist' analysis that insists everyone from a particular religious group has an identical political position, you really could not make this stuff up. Actually its an excellent example of why the political analysis of the so called proletarian camp is such a dead end - its useless when it comes to arguing with anything other than itself.

And once more O'Caseys writings are fiction - arguing a historical analysis based on works of fiction will always have 'flaws'. Politically what he wrote may well have been in the right direction but using fiction to 'prove' an interpretation you like of historical events is so dumb I can't believe you are sticking by it.

Once more - and this is the real point here. The article is only of use if you agree 100% with its persepective. If you gave this to any republican here who had any knowledge of the history they'd be laughing at your group for the rest of time. The article is so crude as to be completely worthless in that regard, if fact worse that worthless it would be seriously counter productive as it would simply confirm that your organisation did not have a clue.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 24 2007 22:09
Spikymike wrote:
J the caution against mixing nationalism with pro revolutionary politics as valid then as now.

For sure but as I say above this particular article is so crude that giving it to anyone who was actually a left republican would be quite counter productive. If you look at the discussion under the articles I've linked to you'll see some actual left republican reaction to them and its obvious that they make them quite uncomfortable. If the same people had found this article they'd be posting it everywhere as proof of how clueless any internationalist perspective was. Basically the ICC article just shows that (like a lot of libcomers) their political life is spent arguing with other internationalists about who is the most anti-nationalist rather than arguing with left nationalists.

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 25 2007 07:17

JoeBlack2 wrote to Spikeymike:

Quote:
For sure but as I say above this particular article is so crude that giving it to anyone who was actually a left republican would be quite counter productive. If you look at the discussion under the articles I've linked to you'll see some actual left republican reaction to them and its obvious that they make them quite uncomfortable.

Of course the article and its analysis makes left republicans – or right republicans for that matter – uncomfortable. It contains a critique of nationalism, of republicanism, of their mythology of events. Why should this bother you so much? Do you want to clarify the complete class gulf between the proletarian viewpoint and that of the nationalists, or do you want to muddy it, to seek some common ground between the two where none exists?

JoeBlack2 seems to think that calling a nationalist uprising by name and debunking a myth that it had some proletarian content, or was even supported widely by the proletariat, is crude. I’d call it clarity myself. I’m not sorry if it makes left republicans squirm, or him for that matter.

JoeBlack2 writes:

Quote:
And once more O'Caseys writings are fiction - arguing a historical analysis based on works of fiction will always have 'flaws'. Politically what he wrote may well have been in the right direction but using fiction to 'prove' an interpretation you like of historical events is so dumb I can't believe you are sticking by it.

Well, either O’Casey’s political critiques, contained in his works of ‘fiction’, are “in the right direction” or they are not. Which is it?

And contrary to what you say, the article does not use O’Casey’s works of ‘fiction’ on which to base an historical analysis. Rather, an historical analysis is supported and further illuminated by a work of ‘fiction’: not any old ‘fiction’, mind, not some soap opera or sci-fi fantasy, but acclaimed literary works based on an interpretation of real historical events at which the author was present, active, and attempting to defend a proletarian perspective against nationalist bloodletting. Perhaps you are being particularly or deliberately “dumb” in this regard.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 25 2007 09:34
Lurch wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote to Spikeymike:
Quote:
For sure but as I say above this particular article is so crude that giving it to anyone who was actually a left republican would be quite counter productive. If you look at the discussion under the articles I've linked to you'll see some actual left republican reaction to them and its obvious that they make them quite uncomfortable.

Of course the article and its analysis makes left republicans – or right republicans for that matter – uncomfortable.

Lurch maybe English isn't your first language in which case fair enough, maybe the sentence is unclear. But if it is your 'reply' is yet another excample of the problem I'm talking of here. To aid you in comprehending the bit you quote the second time around I've bolded the key phrases!

Apart from anything else though the fact that if you really thought I was referring to the ICC article then the lack of discussion under that article should have woken you up to what was actually meant!

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
May 25 2007 22:18

You can now read O'Casey's 'Story of the Irish Citizen Army' here

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 25 2007 23:07

This thread is brilliant.

Quote:
We'll the fact that gs hates a significant trend of the workers movement

grin

Quote:
and the fact that he's a member of an organisation whose attitude to nationalism and national liberation has often been questioned on this site - speaks volumes. Perhaps gs's hatred of 'Left Communists' is a class-based antagnism? Perhaps his organisation hasn't completed its journey away from the bourgeois politics of Republicanism. I pose these as questions, you understand.

And some more. Just why is GS so keen to show that Sean O'Casey "was far from anti-nationalist" anyway? Why didn't he find anything on-line to back up his assertion? Why was an O'Casey play met with riots, a film version publically burned in Limerick, as the article says, or are these 'innacuracies'? I think we should be told.

Fuck you got me. I'm a bourgeois nationalist. laugh out loud

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 26 2007 11:14
Quote:
Fuck you got me. I'm a bourgeois nationalist.

If you say so. I didn't.

But you still haven't answered any questions raised about your hysterical, knee-jerk reaction to the mere mention of the ICC article – “what an absolutely fucking awful article. It just wrong about loads of stuff."

The 'inaccuracies' you allege are disputed by others on this thread.

Your critique of the idea that O’Casey’s writings may have been influenced by the 1917 Russian Revolution is bizarre.

And the fact that you want to rubbish an article whose fundamental axis is the denunciation of the Easter Rising for its nationalist, anti-proletarian content is at best horribly sectarian and at worst reveals your own ambiguities about this event which your linked article in part describes as “an insurrection against imperialism”, as “this blow against imperialism” and as “heroic” (1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle)
[url]http://www.wsm.ie/story/707 )[/url]

You may argue the above quotes are pulled out of their context and reproduced without their qualifying clauses. The question is: what are they doing there in the first place?

thugarchist's picture
thugarchist
Offline
Joined: 26-11-06
May 26 2007 11:17

Left Communism is a significant trend in what?

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 26 2007 12:44
Quote:
Left Communism is a significant trend in what?

Serious question or sarcasm?

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 26 2007 12:48
Lurch wrote:
as “heroic” (1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle)
[url]http://www.wsm.ie/story/707 )[/url]

You may argue the above quotes are pulled out of their context and reproduced without their qualifying clauses.

Actually in the case of your objection to 'heroic' I'd say its a pretty clear example of politically crawling up your own arse so far as to lose contact with reality. No qualifying clauses are necessary.

I can think of other terms to describe no more than 1700 men and women deciding to take on an army of one million plus under arms (crazy would be one) but I don't see how heroic would not apply as well. Even more so when they did so in uniform and armed with out of date weapons which included pikes! And of course in full awareness that previous rebellions against the same empire had resulted in whole scale massacres of the rebel rank and file and the execution of their leadership.

Any one who turned out knowing all this that 'Easter morn' would need a good deal more herorism then I've ever had to summon up for any political activity.

Our purpose in these articles was to create an anarchist political critique of the highpoints of Irish republicanism rather than the more traditional technique of attacking the weakest link. Such a critique is stronger rather than weaker when you can acknowledge the blindingly obvious.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
May 26 2007 14:47
Lurch wrote:
Just why is GS so keen to show that Sean O'Casey "was far from anti-nationalist" anyway? Why didn't he find anything on-line to back up his assertion?

Just read O'Casey's ICA text linked to on previous page and you'll see that it supports George Stapleton's claim about O'Casey - he didn't like the Irish National Volunteers, led as they were by the same bosses who locked out the workers in 1913 - but he's not anti-nationalist - he resents the bosses' domination of the nationalist movement but seems to reproach the nationalist Volunteers for not being more co-operative with the ICA.

He approves of the Irish Volunteers who split from the Irish National Volunteers - but who remained nationalist - and began closer co-operation with the ICA. At a Parnell anniversary meeting a clash between National Volunteers on one side and the ICA and Irish Volunteers on the other was narrowly averted. O'Casey comments;

Quote:
"This day was memorable for the fact that it was the first time that the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers had officially united in action and had unmistakably demonstrated the affinity of thought and ideal that existed between the two organisations.

He seems to think Labour must take its rightful place in the future independent nation - and implies that Labour's participation in the national struggle as equal partner is a pre-condition for that. He never makes much explicit statement on this, but from the events he describes without criticism one gets his drift.

The Irish labour movement was anyway strongly tinged with nationalism and religion - the ICA membership card said; "The Land and Sea and Air of Ireland for the People of Ireland. This is the gospel the heavens and earth are proclaiming; and that is the gospel every Irish heart is secretly burning to embrace."-John Mitchel. An ICA recruiting poster proclaimed; "Enlist at once and help us to create THE IRISH CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH. GOD SAVE THE PEOPLE" - and O'Casey quotes Larkin's farewell words to T&G workers as he left for the USA; "Remember your constitution and your oath - Ireland first, last, and all the time. Sobriety, unquestioned obedience, and keenness for drill be your motto."

The following quotes from 1919 are hardly the views of an unambiguous anti-nationalist;

Quote:
"It is impossible yet to say whether the events of Easter Week will achieve a Democratisation of Irish Nationalism, or whether the latter influence will deflect itself towards the broader issues of the Irish Labour movement."

"Sheehy-Skeffington, like the tiny mustard seed to-day, will possibly grow into a tree that will afford shade and rest to many souls overheated with the stress and toil of barren politics. He was the living antithesis of the Easter Insurrection: a spirit of peace enveloped in the flame and rage and hatred of the contending elements, absolutely free from all its terrifying madness; and yet he was the purified soul of revolt against not only one nation's injustice to another, but he was also the soul of revolt against man's inhumanity to man. And in this blazing pyre of national differences his beautiful nature, as far as this world is concerned, was consumed, leaving behind a hallowed and inspiring memory of the perfect love that casteth out fear, against which there can be no law.

In Sheehy-Skeffington, and not in Connolly, fell the first martyr to Irish Socialism, for he linked Ireland not only with the little nations struggling for self-expression, but with the world's Humanity struggling for a higher life.

He indeed was the ripest ear of corn that fell in Easter Week, and as it is true that when an ear of corn falls into the ground and dies it bringeth forth much fruit, so will the sown body of Sheehy-Skeffington bring forth, ultimately, in the hearts of his beloved people, the rich crop of goodly thoughts which shall strengthen us all in our onward march towards the fuller development of our National and Social Life."

""While the ultimate destiny of Ireland will be in the hands of Labour, it would be foolish to deny that the present is practically in the hands of the Sinn Fein Organisation. Its activities are spreading over the land, and Labour comes halting very much behind. This is explained by two reasons: Sinn Fein is not yet democratic, though Irish; while Labour, though fundamentally democratic, is far from being National. As Parliamentarianism was a poor copy of English Liberalism, so is Irish Labour a poorer reflex of English Trades Unionism. Its boasted Irish characteristics are far from being apparent, and its pretended love for the Irish language is very superficial indeed. It has done nothing to ensure that Irish shall be the language of the future nation; its propaganda literature is practically written from an English point of view, and the Irish Labour leaders are all painfully ignorant of their country's history, language and literature. It is because of these self-evident facts that Sinn Fein possesses a tremendous advantage over the Labour movement. Persecution has deepened our sympathies with our Irish origin, and the Irish Labour leaders, sooner or later, will be forced to realise that they must become Irish if they expect to win the confidence and support of the Irish working-class. Sinn Fein, too, will have to cope with the greatest of all difficulties - Success. Here now, like tares and wheat,the good and evil will grow up together. It will roughly be composed of two classes of thought: those who love themselves so well that they have none left for Ireland, and those who love Ireland so well that they have none left for themselves. The first love is selfish; the second is foolish."

"It is from these elements that Labour must build the future state; democratising the national movement and Irishising itself. Labour will probably have to fight Sinn Fein - indeed the challenge seems to have been thrown down already - but the Labour leaders must become wiser and more broadminded than they at present seem to be; they must remove the beam from their own eye that they may clearly see to remove the mote from the eye of Sinn Fein, and then they will find in that organisation elements that will readily yield to as penetrating forces; then the leaders of Labour in Ireland will be able to glean grapes from a tree that hitherto brought forth only wild grapes, because Labour, through the Citizen Army, has broken down the first trenches of national prejudice, and has left a deep impression on the bloody seal of Irish Republicanism.""

"It appears certain that Nationalism has gained a great deal and lost a little by its union with Labour in the Insurrection of Easter Week, and that Labour has lost much and achieved something by its avowal of the National aspirations of the Irish Nation.

We can only hope that Nationalism, in its new-found strength, will not remain deaf to the claims of Irish Labour for a foremost place in the National Being, and that the sacrifices of Irish Labour through the Citizen Army may not be forgotten by those who are working towards the regeneration of our common country.""

Lurch
Offline
Joined: 15-10-05
May 26 2007 15:47

Lurch wrote:

Quote:
Just why is GS so keen to show that Sean O'Casey "was far from anti-nationalist" anyway? Why didn't he find anything on-line to back up his assertion?

Please note, I no-where said that O'Casey didn't harbour nationalist illusions: I asked gerogestapleton why he was so keen to show them. I agree with the ICC article 'Sean O'Casey and the 1916 Uprising' that, on many levels and at many times, "Even on the national question, he was not necessarily clearer than those around him." The 1919 text posted by Ret Marut confirms this.

And I also asked

Quote:
Do we, as the [ICC] article claims, find in O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy a trenchant critique, "a blistering denunciation of the Easter Rising"; Does The Plough and the Stars "recall the historic truth that not only O’Casey, but the working class in Ireland refused to participate in or support the [1916 Easter] rising"? If we do, what's your problem with that? And if we don't, please demonstrate it.

I haven’t had an answer to that one yet

Regarding JoeBlack2 and “heroics”:

There are throughout history no doubt many millions of men and women who, ill-equipped, have fought against overwhelming odds and in the process faced death bravely and courageously for what they believed was right. To their cause, no doubt they were heroes, if not martyrs. That in itself doesn’t mean their cause was right or the legacy built on their deaths positive.

You can call those who urged their countrymen on to certain slaughter by British imperialism on the streets of Dublin at Easter 1916 “heroic” if you wish. I don’t doubt their bravery.

I do doubt the cause for which they died: Irish nationalism. More to the point, so did Sean O’Casey at the time and in his Dublin trilogy, the departure point for this particular discussion. If you think he too was crawling up his own arse, as you so quaintly put it, then say so.

The point is that the working class had nothing to gain by supporting either side in this confrontation between British imperialism and Irish nationalism; by and large it did not support it and by sticking the label of “heroic” on those sacrificed during it you are merely reinforcing the very myths of republicanism you claim to oppose, and which have been used one way or another against the proletariat in Ireland and elsewhere ever since.

Was the Easter Rising a “blow against [British] imperialism” as your article says? Nope. Could it have been? Only, as the nationalists recognised, with the support of German imperialism, in which case imperialism overall would have been triumphant, not the proletariat.

You say your organisation wishes to stress the “high point” of radical republicanism in Ireland. I do not believe that this can be found in the Easter Rising. Far from it.

AndrewF's picture
AndrewF
Offline
Joined: 28-02-05
May 26 2007 17:19
Lurch wrote:
You say your organisation wishes to stress the “high point” of radical republicanism in Ireland. I do not believe that this can be found in the Easter Rising. Far from it.

You do understand Lurch that highpoints has a different meaning then highpoint. For an organisation that is so anally retentive I find these basic mistakes of comprehension hard to understand.

Anyway all that aside when would you locate the “high point” of radical republicanism in Ireland?

thugarchist's picture
thugarchist
Offline
Joined: 26-11-06
May 26 2007 18:36
Lurch wrote:
Quote:
Left Communism is a significant trend in what?

Serious question or sarcasm?

A little bit of both actually. I'm certainly not suggesting that any other class struggle oriented left/anarchist/whatever are significant either, but no one is significant in the workers movement. Thinking any of us are seems mildly delusional.

dublin dave
Offline
Joined: 6-11-06
May 26 2007 18:56
Lurch wrote:
Lurch wrote:

The point is that the working class had nothing to gain by supporting either side in this confrontation between British imperialism and Irish nationalism; by and large it did not support it and by sticking the label of “heroic” on those sacrificed during it you are merely reinforcing the very myths of republicanism you claim to oppose, and which have been used one way or another against the proletariat in Ireland and elsewhere ever since.

Was the Easter Rising a “blow against [British] imperialism” as your article says? Nope. Could it have been? Only, as the nationalists recognised, with the support of German imperialism, in which case imperialism overall would have been triumphant, not the proletariat.

A successfull uprising (which was a distant but real possibility) could have hastened the end of WW1. Britain would be militarily and politically weakened and would probably have had to make peace with Germany. Essentially it could have brought about a stalemate between the European powers. This would not have been a victory for the proletariat in an abstract sence but it sure as hell would have been a victory for the poor (proletarian) bastards who wouldn't have had to continue dying in their millions.

It would probably also have had the effect of hastening the collapse of the British and other empires. The collapse of the European empires would most definitely have been positive from the point of view of the working and peasant classes in Africa, Asia etc.

We need to remember that the working classes are not some abstract but are made up of real human beings. My great grandfather was shot by a German sniper in late 1918. The war ending in 1916 would have definitely been a victory for one working class family in Dublin.

Topic locked